JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government's decision to appoint female teachers and male teachers over 50 years in government schools for girls, has evoked an intense debate in the state.
The government's effort behind the move is that the female students can easily share their problems with women and elderly male teachers and for which, the data of teachers has been asked for. However, the government said that the implementation will happen only after consulting with teacher's organisations who are opposed to the idea as of now.
"I have sought data on male teachers from all girls and the decision will be implemented only if we have required number. After talking to teachers' organisations, we will prepare a road-map and formulate a policy to appoint more and more female teachers at girls schools, so that no problem arises for girl students in the time to come," said state education minister Govind Singh Dotasra while talking to media in Jhunjhunu.
He further added, "We are making an effort to appoint more and more female teachers at girls' school so that they can share their problems, just like they do with their mothers and sisters." According to sources in the Education Department ,the growing incidents of harassment of girls by male teachers has led to this decision.
Though the state has 68,910 co-educational schools, girls schools only account for 1,019. In a pool of 3.82 lakh government teachers, male to female ratio is almost 2:1, which means there are 1.27 lakh female teachers. This is contradictory to Dotasara's statement that girl students are safe only in all female schools.
Rajasthan Teachers' Association General-Secretary Upendra Sharma said that the government is wrong in its thinking. "One or two teachers who commit mistakes should not reflect on the entire teacher's community. The male teachers working in girls schools are working efficiently. On one side we talk about equality and on the other we think of this."
All Rajasthan School Teachers Union chief Ram Krishan Agarwal believes that the problems won't go away by removing the male teachers but strict action should be taken against the guilty. He adds that for years, only male teachers above 50 were being employed in girls schools but the previous BJP government did not adhere to it. "Amongst 3 lakh teachers in Rajasthan, 30 per cent are women, so they can easily implement their decision. But damaging the reputation of male teachers is not good because of a few cases. Strict action should be taken against those are found guilty", he said.
There are women who support this decision of the government, whose daughters are studying in government schools. "Our girls are not safe and we keep reading such news everyday. In government schools, girl students find it difficult to express their problems to make teachers but feel comfortable with a female teacher. If the department has more female teachers ,they should be employed in girls schools," says Laxmi Devi who herself works at a government aanganwadi.
Meanwhile, Dotasara has now clarified the government's decision. "It has never been our intention to portray that teachers below 50 aren't working properly or shouldn't teach at girls schools. But we're working to see no mishap takes place with our daughters & if something happens, they can share that with female teachers."